Tag Archives: appeal

Amanda Knox Documentary to be Released on Netflix

knox

Amanda Knox

At the end of the month, Netflix is going to release a documentary on the murder of Meredith Kerchner, and the subsequent prosecutions of Amanda Knox, Rafaelle Sollecito, and Rudy Guede. Knox and Sollecito’s convictions were ultimately overturned last year, and they were acquitted. Guede was separately convicted for the murder, and his convictions remains in effect.

Crimcourts has covered the Knox case extensively, it was an international media sensation that “Foxy Knoxy”, an American student in Perugia, was accused of a horrific murder of her roommate. This was coupled with allegations of a sexual nature, most of which were not based in any fact. The prosecutor who propounded these theories, also will appear in the documentary. It will be worth checking out.

For more on the Knox case, check out our Knox Archive.

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Miami ‘Baby Lollipops’ Child Murder Conviction Overturned

ana cardona

Ana Maria Cardona, via DOC

Ana Maria Cardona, the first woman on Florida’s death row for killing her own child, has had her conviction reversed a second time. While the Florida Supreme Court found that ample evidence was presented to allow the jury to find her guilty, the Court ruled that Prosecutors erred by using inappropriate, inflammatory arguments. “As we have stated for decades, we expect and require prosecutors, as representatives of the state, to refrain from engaging in inflammatory and abusive arguments, to maintain their objectivity, and to behave in a professional manner…” Cardona will be given a new trial, though the death penalty will be in question as the death sentencing procedure in place at the time of the offense has been found to be unconstitutional.

This was Cardona’s second trial, and the first was also thrown out for prosecutorial ‘error’. The court found that the prosecutors failed to disclose additional, contradictory statements, which is a clear violation of the discovery rules. Cardona will still face a third trial, and mandatory life in prison if convicted, even if the death penalty is reinstated.

None of these opinions say that she did not do it, nor that her actions were not horrible. The poor child was found beaten and abandoned, dubbed ‘Baby Lollipops’ by the press as investigators sought to determine who the child was. While the facts are atrocious, and supported the Heinous, Atrocious and Cruel [HAC] findings, the court is simply requiring the state to make appropriate arguments. It often seems that the prosecutors are held to a higher burden of decorum when presenting their case than defense attorneys… I certainly felt that way when I was a prosecutor, but it’s appropriate to ensure that the government act in an appropriate and ethical manner at all times. Any time the freedoms, and especially the life, of a citizen is on the line, there must be no indication of improper influence to obtain a conviction.

 

Tracie Hunter’s Guilty Verdict Upheld on Appeal

Tracie Hunter

 Former Judge Tracie Hunter

Former Hamilton County Judge Tracie Hunter’s verdict was upheld on appeal yesterday. The 1st District Court of Appeals in Ohio released their decision yesterday. Her attorney disagrees with the verdict, and has indicated they will be appealing to the Ohio Supreme Court.

One of the issues is that the jury was not polled after reading the verdict. Normally, after a verdict is announced in court, the jury is polled to confirm that the verdict was correctly recorded. Hunter’s attorney asked the judge to do so, but he declined, because he had previously had them make an affirmation. The jury reached a verdict on only one count, and the judge received that verdict and they continued deliberating on the other counts. When the judge got the verdict on the one count, which we later found out was ‘guilty’, he asked the jurors for an affirmation… but he never announced what the verdict was that he was having them affirm.

Now, this wouldn’t be a problem if the jurors agreed on the verdict. However, now three of them have signed affidavits that say if they had been polled at the end of the trial, their verdicts would not have been the same. That’s a problem. However, the law in Ohio apparently does not require that the verdict be published before the jury is polled. That seems counter-intuitive: how can the jury affirm the verdict if the judge hasn’t told them what he believe the verdict to be? I will be curious what the Supreme Court says, and if the appeal doesn’t work, whether there could be a post-conviction motion based on the post-trial affidavits mentioned earlier.

How Much of our Money did the Barry Bonds Fiasco Cost?

7-time NL MVP Barry Bonds

Acquitted Obstructionist Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds, whose appeals are finally over after his conviction was reversed, cost American taxpayers a pretty penny. Bonds was prosecuted federally, so we are all paying: this was not a local jurisdictional exercise. This was a substantial expenditure by the United States government. The notice filed yesterday that the government would not attempt to appeal the case to the Supreme Court effectively ends the case, and avoids any additional cost. However, the cost of that final appeal would have been a drop in the bucket of the total cost of prosecuting this case.

Estimates back in 2009 put the cost of the trial at around $6 million. But the trial was the culmination of many years of investigation, whose tally was estimated several years back to be from $55 million up to $100 million. I have not been able to find any more recent estimates, nor any estimates that include the ongoing appellate tally, which included the original appeal, then the larger panel appellate rehearing which finally reversed the one charge of which Bonds was convicted. The Roger Clemens trial may have cost another $10 million or more. That’s a lot of money which was ultimately put toward proving cheating in baseball. While it may be the national pastime; it is not a public interest that needs a government referee (or umpire). The conclusion of Bonds’ case may finally have put an end to this costly undertaking. An undertaking whose bill was paid by U.S. taxpayers.

Man Accused of Sexual Abuse on Tape Acquitted

Richard McDade

Richard McDade

Richard McDade, of Fort Myers, whose accuser said she recorded a sexual assault, was found not guilty today by a jury. The jury is going to be really pissed when they read this, because they never got to hear the recording of the alleged incident. The case went to trial previously, and McDade was convicted when the  jury heard the surreptitious recording by the accuser. However, the Florida Supreme Court threw out the convictions, saying that the recording was illegal, and ordered a new trial. Without the recording, there was no evidence to corroborate the allegation, and McDade was acquitted.

There will not be another appeal, double jeopardy prevents him from being tried again for the offense, now that he has been acquitted. The legislature has since changed the law to allow such recordings to be introduced in future cases, though it has yet to be signed by the governor.

The Real Billy Retherford and Dustin Jaye

Deadly Sins dealt with 2 Fort Myers stories tonight. I’m always curious about whether the actors in the reenactment look anything like the real people. In this case, not too much. I will say, the real Billy Ray Retherford and Dustin Jaye are/were a lot scarier looking than their TV counterparts:

Billy Ray Rertherford's last booking photo

Billy Ray Rertherford’s last booking photo

Dustin Jaye booking photo

Dustin Jaye booking photo

  • And some of the other players in the story:
Allison Jaye booking photo

Allison Jaye booking photo

Allison Jaye had to be brought back from prison to testify in the trial.

  • She actually did go through a blond phase when younger:
Allison Jaye earlier booking

Allison Jaye earlier booking

  • And Allison’s friend, Sarah Grenier has also been in trouble with the law:
Sarah Grenier booking photo

Sarah Grenier booking photo

  • And the innocent victim of the crime, from a photo Naples News found on Facebook:
Debra Striano (Facebook)

Debra Striano (Facebook)

Russell Myers, speaking after the incident

Russell Myers, speaking after the incident

Greg Imhoff, killed by Billy Retherford

Greg Imhoff, killed by Billy Retherford

Also, here’s Billy Ray Retherford’s last prison release photo. Both he and Jaye had gotten out of prison not long before. As such, they would have been classified as Prison Releasee Reoffenders, meaning that they were facing mandatory sentences of life in prison. Life is also mandatory in Florida for a First Degree Murder such as this. Jaye was sentenced to life after trial, in spite of being defended by experienced attorney Ed Kelly. His appeal is still pending.

Billy Retherford (prison photo)

Billy Retherford (prison photo)

The other story on Deadly Sins tonight was the Fred Cooper murder, known locally as the Gateway case. Here is Fred Dewitt Cooper’s Booking Photo on that case:

Fred Cooper Booking Photo

Fred Cooper Booking Photo

Fred Cooper was convicted at trial for killing Steven and Michelle Andrews. He was tried twice, the first trial in 2008 ended in a mistrial due to a hung jury. The trial was then moved to a different venue, because it came out that the jury as been influenced by the extensive local media coverage. The second trial was conducted in 2009 in the Tampa area. Cooper was convicted of First Degree Murder, and the State sought the death penalty. The jury only recommended life in prison, and he was given three life sentences. Cooper had been to prison before, but not for violence, and had stayed out of trouble for 10 years before these brutal killings. Cooper’s conviction was upheld on appeal. His motion for post-conviction relief was denied, and that decision is currently on appeal. Here’s a more recent photo:

Fred Cooper in 2014

Fred Cooper in 2014

Barry Bonds’ Conviction for Obstruction Thrown Out

7-time NL MVP Barry Bonds

7-time NL MVP Barry Bonds

The 11th Circuit overturned the conviction of Barry Bonds today. Bonds lost his trial on obstruction charges for a meandering answer to a question in front of a grand jury related to a steroid investigation. The appellate court initially upheld the conviction, but agreed to a larger panel re-hearing. The 11-judge rehearing panel found that the response was not material to the government’s investigation into steroids.

The government can appeal (or ask for a full rehearing in front of the 11th circuit). Three other counts of the indictment were deadlocked by the trial jury, and later dismissed by prosecutors. Bonds was sentenced to 30 days home confinement, which he already served, plus fines and community service. The initial statement in question was made in 2003, which means Bonds’ legal saga has now gone on for about 12 years… and may not be done yet.

via ESPN